The Gas Grill Gourmet
by A. Cort Sinnes, with John Puscheck
It was great to find a barbecue cookbook that focuses on gas grills so you don’t have to translate cooking times and temperatures from a charcoal grill recipe. The recipes are grouped by category (appetizers, type of meat, vegetables and vegetarian, side dishes, fruit and desserts) and each recipe has a little introduction. They are pretty simple, but there are no photos which is too bad. But the most important thing about a cookbook is whether the recipes are good and these are great! Some of our favorites are the salad Nicoise, skewered herbed potatoes, grilled fresh pineapple, and London broil with black bean and corn salsa. The book also includes information on grill safety, equipment and supplies, and how to use various types of wood chips to enhance your cooking.
Reviewed by staff member Tina Drew
The Wednesday Sisters: A Novel
by Meg Waite Clayton
Five women, wives of engineers, doctors and scientists who have relocated to California to further their careers, meet in the summer of 1968 at a Palo Alto children's playground. They start a reading group which soon changes to a writer's circle. Over the next 5 years marked by now-historical events such as moon landings and Miss America pageants, the women struggle to become published authors, all the time facing more mundane challenges of motherhood, marriage, cancer and career changes. For women who lived through the social upheavals of the 1960's and the early 1970's, this book will bring back memories; for those who came later, it will prompt discussion on issues now taken for granted, such as interracial marriage and women's participation in amateur sports.
Reviewed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library staff member Lucille Boone
Be Near Me : a Novel
by Andrew O'Hagan
Father David Anderton has lived an insulated life, sheltered from conflict and his own strongest feelings. An Oxford graduate, an intellectual and something of a connoisseur of wine and food, his life begins to change abruptly after he is sent to a poor working-class parish in Scotland. Here he encounters the rampant hostility of the locals. The loneliness of his life is tempered by his friendship with his housekeeper Mrs. Poole, blunt, loyal, and hungry for a taste of culture. He is also drawn to two wildly impulsive adolescents, who live in defiance of all order and authority. This attraction has grave consequences for the priest, but leads to the beginnings of self-knowledge and an opening to the world. This is a beautifully written and compelling novel.
Reviewed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library staff member
Tomato Rhapsody : a Fable of Love, Lust and Forbidden Fruit
by Adam Schell
This extraordinary book could change your perception of tomatoes forever. Set in early 16th century Tuscany with the arrival of tomatoes to Italy from the New World, Tomato Rhapsody is indeed a fable, written in the form of a theatrical comedy which borders on bawdy farce. The many intriguing characters engage in lively dialogue and sometimes absurd activities amidst highly descriptive settings. The author puts a highly imaginative spin on both Italian history and culinary delights. This reader laughed out loud at least once every chapter and hopes that a film by the same title will be produced soon!
Reviewed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library staff member RCN
School of Dreams: Making the Grade at a Top American High School
by Edward Humes
Think you have busy days? Compare your routine to that of a hyper-achieving teen at a premier public high school, Whitney High in Cerritos, California. Four is the operative number: 4.0 GPA, 4 lattes, and 4 hours of sleep per night. Lest you think everyone succeeds, read about the student who succumbed to crystal meth. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes was granted unconditional access to speak with everyone during the year he spent at the institution. The result is an eye-opening journey to the land of secondary education on scholastic overdrive.
Reviewed by Biblioteca Latinoamericana Branch Library staff member Janice Garcia
Muqtada : Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia revival, and the struggle for Iraq
by Cockburn, Patrick
Muqtada is a summary of the Shia’s modern history and conflict in Iraq as is rooted with a mystery figure, a maverick, and a firebrand young cleric Muqtada Al-Sadar. Patrick Cockburn compiles an account of the Shia modern politics, religion, nationalism, and their conflict in Iraq. The author had a firsthand experience in the modern Iraqi political conflict including Saddam’s brutality, the Shia suffering, and the destruction of Iraqi infrastructure. Mr. Cockburn’s book is a collaboration of valuable interviews and direct contact with many Iraqi figures including Shia, Sunni, and Iraqi officials.
The book is not just a biography of Muqtada Al-Sadar, but details of his family’s history and the Sadirist movement including the feud of Shia’s leadership and their struggle with the Iraqi government and Baath party. Muqtada blended the Shia’s cause with violence, assassinations, and anarchy. The young cleric seized the momentum to conquer by combining his family’s name, assembling the poor with religious rhetoric and nationalism. He became a ruthless militiaman, but he successfully identified himself with the Mahdi army and his movement. Nevertheless, his rivals were many, al-Khoie, Sistani, & al-Hakim including the Sunni, and the middle class. Many saw him as a dangerous figure leading a mob of thieves and robbers and created bitter rivalries, a controversial figure, but a popular among the poor Shia fanatics.
Reviewed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library staff member Ashour Benjamin